Dominican Hagiography and Sermons - 783 

the habit which is now that of the Lesser Brothers and began to gather brothers together. It was revealed to him that his sins had been forgiven and that people of many different languages would come together to join him. He also predicted that in the beginning of his Order pleasant things would be experienced, then those which would be less pleasant, and lastly, things that would be bitter. He wrote a Rule, had it confirmed, and wished that it be called the Order of Lesser Brothers.

Once his soul appeared to his brothers as a resplendent globe of light in a fiery chariot. Another time, while Saint Anthony was preaching to the brothers in Provence and was speaking of "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews," a Brother Monaldo saw Saint Francis with his hands extended in the form of the Cross. In spirit he knew many deeds of his absent brothers. Longing for martyrdom he went to preach to both the Miramamolin and the Sultan. He came to the sailors' assistance during storms and by his prayers had their provisions increased. In the vicinity of Bevagna he preached to the birds and walked here and there among them, but they did not fly away until he gave them leave. At Alviano he imposed silence on swallows who were impeding him in his preaching. A hare, a small rabbit, and fish obeyed him. At the hermitage of San Urbano he converted water into wine, which, when drunk, cured a sick man. At Ascoli, Arezzo, and other places he performed many miracles, so that even the things he touched benefited a woman giving birth in pain and many other people besides. In the city of Toscanella he raised up a cripple; he healed a paralytic at Narni; he cured a blind woman, a shriveled woman and those having epilepsy; he expelled demons and did many remarkable things.

Francis was filled with compassion for all creatures. He so venerated the name of Jesus that when it was written down, he would not allow it to be trampled upon by anyone. At that time Lord William, the bishop of the church of Sabina was teaching, just as even now he is accustomed to do, that this name should be magnified above all things. On the day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ Saint Francis out of devotion caused a manger to be built at a village called Greccio. He had an ox with an ass and some hay placed there, and Mass was celebrated. He himself read the Gospel and preached to the people. A boy appeared there, as if lifeless, and the Saint was seen to approach him and arouse the boy as if from a deep sleep. Afterwards that hay was beneficial toward the health of many people; and in that place there is now a church dedicated in honor of Saint Francis.

It is recorded in the writings that he had seen the form of a seraph affixed to a cross, and while he was wondering what this vision




Fontes Franciscani, p.

habitum, qui nunc est Fratrum Minorum, assumpsit et coepit fratres congregare. Revelatur ei peccatorum remissio et diversarum liuguarum congregatio ad ipsum. Praedixit in principio sui ordinis inveniri primo dulcia, deinde minus suavia, postremo amara. Regulam conscripsit, confirmari obtinuit et ordinem Fratrum Minorum voluit nominari.

In curru igneo quasi globus igneus splendidus fratribus anima eius apparuit. Sermocinante sancto Antonio fratribus in Provincia, dum dixit: 'Iesus Nazarenus, rex Iudaeorum' frater Monaldus ipsum in modum crucis extensis manibus vidit. Multa facta fratrum absentium in spiritu cognovit. Martyrium sitiens et miramolino et soldano praedicavit. Et nautis in tempestatibus subvenit et victualia augeri precibus impetravit. Apud Mevanium praedicat avibus et per eas huc et illuc ambulabat, nec abvolabant, donec licentiam dedit. Apud Albianum hirundinibus ipsum in praedicatione impedientibus silentium indixit. Lepusculus, cuniculus et piscis ei obedierunt. Aquam apud eremum Sancti Urbani in vinum convertit, quo gustato ipse aeger convaluit. Apud Esculum, Aretium et alibi multa miracula fecit; ita ut etiam, quae tangebat, parienti in dolore profuerint et aliis multis. In civitate Tuscanella claudum erexit, Narnii paralyticum sanavit, caecam, contractam et caducum morbum habentes curavit, daemonia expulit et multa magnifica fecit.

Omnibus creaturis compatiebatur. Nomen Iesu sic venerabatur, ut litteras, ex quibus componitur, non sineret pedibus conculcari. Ea tempore dominus Guilelmus, Sabinensis ecclesiae episcopus, nomen illud, sicut et nunc solet, super omnia magnificandum docebat. In die nativitatis Domini Iesu Christi sanctus Franciscus ex devotione apud castrum, quod Grecium dicitur, fecit praesepe fieri, et bovem cum asino apponi et foenum et missam celebrari; et evangelium ipse legit et populo praedicavit. Apparuit puer quasi exanimis iacere, et sanctus videbatur cuidam accedere et puerum quasi a sopore excitare. Foenum illud postea multorum profuit sanitati; et in illo loto est nunc ecclesia in honorem sancti Francisci dedicata.

In scripturis legitur, quod formam seraphim cruci affixam vidisset, et dum miraretur, quid sibi vellet visio,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 783